En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - May 30, 2006

From: Goldsboro, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Transplants
Title: Transplanting an immature Sweet Bay Magnolia
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Dean Garrett


Hi Mr. Smarty Pants: I just found what I think is a Magnolia Sweet Bay growing wild next to an oak and a pine tree in my back wooded yard. It has blooms on it and is about 2 feet tall. There are two of them next to each other. In your opinion, how do you think it would do if I replanted it to my front yard (no other tree next to it). I live in Raleigh area, NC. How should I replant it and how should I care for it?


Though an adult Sweet Bay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana) might be risky to move, one that's only two feet tall should present few problems. Transplanting should be done in the fall, but you should root prune now by digging down in a circle around the tree to just beyond the extent of the leaves in order to sever the more far-flung roots and circumscribe your root ball. Transplanting should be done in the morning before high temperatures have stressed the plant, and the leaves should be pruned back by half to reduce transpiration. Make sure and have the new hole dug before you remove the tree from its old hole, so that the roots aren't exposed to the air too long. Until it becomes established, regular watering will be required, but such a young plant should adjust easily to its new site with little additional care, provided it's in appropriate soil. See our Growing Conditions page for more information.


More Propagation Questions

Propagation of quincula lobata from Alleyton TX
July 20, 2011 - Quincula lobata..how to propagate and when?
view the full question and answer

Starting Antelope Horn Milkweed Seeds
March 08, 2013 - I recently found a sealed plastic bag containing milkweed seeds in a cabinet drawer that I had gathered more than a year ago, (maybe two years ago). These are the "antelope horn" milkweed I think it...
view the full question and answer

Should a bloom stalk be cut down in Yuma AZ?
May 07, 2010 - I have a plant in my front yard that looks like an aloe vera. It doesn't have any thorns or needles but does have a tall stalk like stem coming from the middle of it. The "stalk" is now approx. 5'...
view the full question and answer

How to propagate Texas red buckeye (Aesculus sp.) from seeds
May 01, 2007 - I have a Texas Red Buckeye that is doing very well. How do I propagate from the seeds that come off of that tree? Thanks,
view the full question and answer

Transplanting bamboo
July 29, 2008 - To transplant bamboo from one place to another, do you dig the plant up or do you get a cutting, put it in water and then root the plant?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center